05.03.2010 02:15 PM
Triveni's Guidebuilder Makes PSIP Easy
Don Heppelmann

ST. PAUL, MINN.
At Twin Cities Public Television, we're pretty well plugged into the nationwide engineering community, particularly with the shift to digital.

In the early days of ATSC standards development, we attended a shootout in San Diego,where early set-top boxes and program and system information protocol (PSIP) generators were being tested. PSIP tables carried in the ATSC stream make it easy for viewers to tune to the DTV station. PSIP also aids channel navigation with electronic program guide information and conveys V-chip information and other program data, and also identifies whether the programs are closed captioned. The testing was designed to evaluate effective solutions for managing delivery of accurate PSIP data.

It was the first time I'd seen an STB in operation, and of all the systems tested, the GuideBuilder system from Triveni Digital was the only PSIP generation and management system that worked right out of the box. I was extremely impressed, and this led to the incorporation of the Triveni Digital system into the initial DTV installation at Twin Cities Public Television.

Today we're using the GuideBuilder and Harmonic ProStream multiplexer for both of our channels. Working with the GuideBuilder has allowed us to put our programming streams into the same logical channel. By grouping the virtual channels of separate physical channels together, we provide a very transparent experience for the viewer and also maintain our channel branding, though the broadcasts themselves are on very different frequencies.

We're really pleased with how the GuideBuilder supports this model, which is an ideal solution for duopolies looking to protect channel identity in a competitive marketplace.

As GuideBuilder has evolved, it has brought added convenience to our operations. The system's redundant PSIP generation assures accurate PSIP generation. We're also keeping an eye on the GuideBuilder's newly introduced support for mobile delivery models.

TRANSMISSION MONITORING TOO

We also use Triveni Digital's StreamScope MT-40 for studio monitoring and analysis, and the StreamScope RM-40 monitoring appliance at the transmitter to ensure the integrity, reliability, and compliance of our signals. The MT-40 provides a depth of analysis and tool set that helps us ensure total standards compliance. In the future, we plan to interconnect the MT-40 and RM-40 for a more complete view of DTV transport streams across our operations.

As our digital operations have evolved, Triveni Digital has provided ongoing assistance with interfacing its products with other broadcast equipment. This high level of support is valuable in maintaining the long-term effectiveness of the system and also in ensuring on a day-to-day basis that PSIP data is present. After all, without accurate PSIP, we're off the air.

It's important to have confidence in critical broadcast systems, and knowing that Triveni Digital has been involved with the development of ATSC standards from the early days gives us that confidence in managing and monitoring our DTV signals.

Don Heppelmann, CSTE, is technologist for Twin Cities Public Television and has been with that organization for more than 30 years. He may be contacted at dheppelmann@tpt.org.

For additional information, contact Triveni Digital at 609-716-3500 or visit www.trivenidigital.com.



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